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"30 Days of Plotcrafting, 2022 Edition", 1st Aug 2022, 4:49 PM #1
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After some delays due to supply-chain issues, we're back, for a fourth time. That's right, it's Plot-Crafting JulyAugust, 2022 Edition. A themed thread to help you make your plot better, hear others' ideas, and most importantly, have some fun.

The gist of the thread is "guided introspection". It's not instructions on how to make your plot better, it's a series of questions, one per day, prompting you to think about your plot in some way. Hopefully, the process of thinking about it will help you figure out how to make it even better. Maybe others will have comments on your own answers - this is a conversation, not just an essay - but ultimately, the one who knows what's best for your story is, inevitably, you.

You can do it for however many comics you're making, if you're mad enough to multitask. You can do it for comics you're deep into publishing, or comics you haven't even finished planning. You can focus on your current plotline, or on your larger story, or both. You can do it for a story in a different medium, a novel or screenplay - all the questions will work for pretty much any narrative. And if you came into this thread three weeks late, go ahead and catch up on the ones you missed - though you might want to spoiler-tag any big walls of text, to be polite. There are not a lot of strict rules here, because there's not many strict rules about plots.

Since we'll be talking about Plot, some of your answers may veer into Spoiler Territory. Post whatever you're comfortable with. If you want to put spoilers behind spoiler tags, that's fine. If you want to write your answers in the form of inscrutable riddles, that could be fun. Even if you don't want to post your answers, you may benefit from just writing them out.

For those of you who have participated before, many of the questions are similar to previous years'. You may not have much to gain, if you're still working on the same story. But if you've entered a new arc in the past year, or are beginning a new comic, this is a great way to start. And there's always new people on the forums, who may not have been here the last time it rolled around.\

Today's Question: #14: Agree and Disagree
While your opposing sides probably disagree about a lot of things, sometimes there's tension even within factions. Do your heroes ever disagree with each other, have any major philosophical differences (which they mostly set aside for the common goal)? Do your villains ever fight each other?

And, what (if anything) do the opposing sides have in common? Any unexpected agreement, any shared philosophy that nevertheless lead to opposing goals?

Past Questions:


My Answers
I like to give my own answers to questions, if only so people have something to cue off for their own. Breaking my pattern from previous years, this time I'm dusting off an old idea I had for a comic. The plot isn't as solidly defined as I normally do, but maybe this thread will help me figure it out. Since this is a story exactly zero people besides me know anything about, I'll go ahead and drop a more thorough introduction here. That way anyone who wants to comment about my own answers, has the context to understand it better.

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1st Aug 2022, 5:11 PM #2

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Here's my answer to the first question:

"The Multiverse is a realm of infinite possibility and unrelenting insanity. 2099 is a daily strip that bends genres AND minds to explore this abyss of infinity through crazy and exciting scenarios."

The link to the comic is in the banner if you're interested.
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1st Aug 2022, 6:59 PM #3
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oh cool, this is back! two years should be enough to have new answers, and maybe some new questions. I'll do this with Huckleberry (again).


#01: Single-Tweet Story Pitch

Huckleberry is a young plant person, and a fruit-powered superhero from a small, eccentric desert town. He tries to have fun, but he keeps meeting odd creatures and fellow superbeings, and gets into unexpected adventures!

(221 characters. this is a shortened version of my profile description, I've been working on that for a while)
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1st Aug 2022, 8:49 PM #4

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Ooh, I think I missed last year's thread, so maybe time to get back into it!

This time I've got three works but I won't answer everything for all of them. Instead of just my comic, it'll also be two novel projects - my very old very beloved WIP project Seventh Core, and a new one that literally came 70% from a dream, yet to be unnamed, but let's call it Castle Iridescence.
Unfortunately, the dryad story is back in the oven. I tried so much to stick to it and the plot is *right there*, but not the characters, and I'm considering shifting the setting around once I have breathing room elsewhere.

1)Story Pitch

Splitting Image
"A hero and her ex-villain nemesis team up to stop a new threat, only to unveil a dark conspiracy behind both their conflict, and their caged world."


Seventh Core
"A girl's first internship takes a turn for the world-threatening, as she accidentally made a vow to repair the world's six Cores before they bring destruction. Is she up to the task, even if accompanied by her sister and an infernal ally?"


Castle Iridescence
"Magic used to be everywhere in the world, but now, only Castle Furta-cor can harness it. As it loses power even there, could the key to the mages' survival be a rather incompetent apprentice?"
Two weeks ago, 12:49 AM #5
I can explain
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Jaycee Storm:"The Multiverse is a realm of infinite possibility and unrelenting insanity. 2099 is a daily strip that bends genres AND minds to explore this abyss of infinity through crazy and exciting scenarios."


Hmm... it tells me that I'm in for something weird, but doesn't do much to describe what kind of weird it is. Like the weird of Cromartie High School is a very different sort of weird to the weird of The Nightmare Before Christmas. The genre stuff seems to imply a sort of eclecticism? But that's common enough to not really merit the "weird" label.

Matt Comics:Huckleberry is a young plant person, and a fruit-powered superhero from a small, eccentric desert town. He tries to have fun, but he keeps meeting odd creatures and fellow superbeings, and gets into unexpected adventures!


Oh hey, I think I remember you from a few years back.

This story seems more character-based than plot-based, so maybe telling us more about the character would help? "Tries to have fun" isn't nothing but it is a pretty broad description.

Iris-Grimoire:Unfortunately, the dryad story is back in the oven. I tried so much to stick to it and the plot is *right there*, but not the characters, and I'm considering shifting the setting around once I have breathing room elsewhere.


Oof. I can sympathize, it's hard to get stories to work sometimes.

Iris-Grimoire:A hero and her ex-villain nemesis team up to stop a new threat, only to unveil a dark conspiracy behind both their conflict, and their caged world.


Straight to the point, but maybe some more details would have helped - you had plenty of characters left. From that, I'm not even sure what the setting is - contemporary, fantasy, maybe sci-fi?

Iris-Grimoire:A girl's first internship takes a turn for the world-threatening, as she accidentally made a vow to repair the world's six Cores before they bring destruction. Is she up to the task, even if accompanied by her sister and an infernal ally?


Descriptive, but it could have punched a lot harder. "Oh no, who left the intern in charge of saving the world?" might not have gotten as much lore dumped, but might do better at drawing people in.

Iris-Grimoire:Magic used to be everywhere in the world, but now, only Castle Furta-cor can harness it. As it loses power even there, could the key to the mages' survival be a rather incompetent apprentice?


There seems to be a good bit of overlap between this one and Seventh Core. Intentional, or do you just like "unlikely low-ranked novice tackles top-tier apocalyptic problem" plots?
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Two weeks ago, 1:55 AM #6

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GMan003:
Oof. I can sympathize, it's hard to get stories to work sometimes.

Straight to the point, but maybe some more details would have helped - you had plenty of characters left. From that, I'm not even sure what the setting is - contemporary, fantasy, maybe sci-fi?

Descriptive, but it could have punched a lot harder. "Oh no, who left the intern in charge of saving the world?" might not have gotten as much lore dumped, but might do better at drawing people in.

There seems to be a good bit of overlap between this one and Seventh Core. Intentional, or do you just like "unlikely low-ranked novice tackles top-tier apocalyptic problem" plots?


1) I thought I had it in the bag after tha plotcrafting year too ;_; I'm not cut for mild romance, it needs more conflict and bizarre stuff happening

2)Good point! I cut it down from the official description where it mentions the ex-villain is a Dark Lord and the hero is an elf to see how brief it could be, but that might add just enough without reaching the character limit!

3)Ooh, that could work too! I'm still not 100% set on having Glacia be an intern at the job (it's a weird situation, she's not actually in college or trade school yet but it's like a gap year while she studies), but that slightly derisive remark could really make it stand out.

4)Yeah! But I have same brain as... My brain, the dream had such an emphasis that the apprentice couldn't catch up with the class and the teachers hated a weak link! :p
Two weeks ago, 1:59 AM #7
send dogs pls
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ITS BACK ITS BACK ITS BACK ITS BACK

i might get behind this week but i'll catch up after if i do. wanted to at least do day one before i collapse for the night!

estellia's also a story i just could not get to work no matter how much i tried, so its um.... i nuked it and scrapped it for parts. so we got a new fella this time around -- one that's meant to be more episodic, so this could be interesting at the plotcrafting goes along, but i'll do my best! either way this is still a relatively new project so this'll be helpful.

Paranormal Interventions --

A entrepreneurial psychic and himbo werewolf run a paranormal detective agency where they must crawl from the bottom of the totem pole to respected members of the supernatural community. From ghosts to dragons to aliens, they've got you covered! ...For the right price, that is.

239 LESGO
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Two weeks ago, 2:21 AM #8
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Been wanting to join one of these for years but I've always felt far too embarrassed to try. But I think this may help me sort out my thoughts and such, so I'll finally give this a go! Thank you so much for doing these, I always love reading through peoples responses for these sort of things. ^^

#01: Single-Tweet Story Pitch

I am SO bad at these. XD lmao I have such a hard time describing things.
My current comic description is pretty short:


But to make this more fun, I wrote a new one:
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Two weeks ago, 2:28 AM #9

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GMan003:Describe your story to a prospective reader or publisher - why should we read it? what makes it exciting? what makes it unique? Try to avoid referencing other stories - we want to know what's cool about your story, not about other cool stories we could read instead.


Oooh, I'm gonna try and do this for the story I have in the back of my mind! It's currently untitled, so I'll refer to it as "Chartreuse City," which is the current location it takes place in. I'd like for it to be a comic where I'm the writer and someone else is the artist, a mini-series of the kind that Image seems to excel at publishing.

Alright, the premise:
In a city where a team of six superheroes have eliminated all crime, seemingly for good, one of the six wants to make sure crime is never a problem again, even when they've all retired, via a pre-crime system. Three of them are on board with this. Three of them are very much not.

That's 240 exactly!
This plot is the result of me reformatting my oldest OCs (as in, I made them in high school), and taking them from an urban fantasy world (of which I already have two, one of which is Pale Rider) to a superhero world. It needs work, but I really would like to make it happen someday!
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Two weeks ago, 2:55 AM #10

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GMan003:#01: Single-Tweet Story Pitch


Raylin is a young girl living in space in the distant future. She has superpowers and wants to become a superhero but has a shady past. It all comes to a head when she saves a HIVE police ship from a strange battle cruiser. Now she is the target of an evil empire known as Spade.

JUST BARELY IN THERE!

Anyway, this is basically a story about super powered individuals in space. It includes aliens, superheroes, and an evil plot to take over the galaxy. It has a little bit of everything out there and fantastic with a little bit of shonen anime thrown in the mix.

Also, PLEASE read HOPE. It's my pet project and I really appreciate more eyes on it. (Yes, this is the same story I described above)
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Two weeks ago, 3:10 AM #11
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GMan003:

#01: Single-Tweet Story Pitch

Describe your story to a prospective reader or publisher - why should we read it? what makes it exciting? what makes it unique? Try to avoid referencing other stories - we want to know what's cool about your story, not about other cool stories we could read instead.

You have two hundred and forty characters. Go.



Yasss!! I need to do this for TAP since I still have kinks to work out of the plot, thank you so much for starting this!!


My Answer:

You’re saved from a grisly fate by a grumpy winged man who says he’s an angel. He then takes you and the strange object you were just admiring to another realm to find out why this destruction is happening and if it has anything to do with the fact that you can suddenly see him.
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Two weeks ago, 3:11 AM #12
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Nyomi:i might get behind this week but i'll catch up after if i do. wanted to at least do day one before i collapse for the night!

estellia's also a story i just could not get to work no matter how much i tried, so its um.... i nuked it and scrapped it for parts. so we got a new fella this time around -- one that's meant to be more episodic, so this could be interesting at the plotcrafting goes along, but i'll do my best! either way this is still a relatively new project so this'll be helpful.


Don't worry about falling behind, it lasts a month.

Episodic might be tricky, but it can work. When it comes to plot, maybe just do the first arc? Or even just the first plotline, if you're so episodic that you don't have larger arcs.

Nyomi:Paranormal Interventions --

A entrepreneurial psychic and himbo werewolf run a paranormal detective agency where they must crawl from the bottom of the totem pole to respected members of the supernatural community. From ghosts to dragons to aliens, they've got you covered! ...For the right price, that is.


You had me at "himbo werewolf".

I don't know why. I'm not usually fond of himboes and werewolves usually bore me.

Casscade:Been wanting to join one of these for years but I've always felt far too embarrassed to try. But I think this may help me sort out my thoughts and such, so I'll finally give this a go! Thank you so much for doing these, I always love reading through peoples responses for these sort of things. ^^


Aw, thanks!

Casscade:But to make this more fun, I wrote a new one:


You know, I really didn't expect people to be that far short of 240 characters, seemingly without even trying. But maybe that's just me and my inability to ever get to the point. I'd probably have added some more details but I think that laser-focus on the important elements works fine as it is.
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Two weeks ago, 4:32 AM #13

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GMan003:Hmm... it tells me that I'm in for something weird, but doesn't do much to describe what kind of weird it is. Like the weird of Cromartie High School is a very different sort of weird to the weird of The Nightmare Before Christmas. The genre stuff seems to imply a sort of eclecticism? But that's common enough to not really merit the "weird" label.


Hm, that's a pretty good point. Guess I should be trying to figure out precisely whst variety of "weird" I'm going for and how my story is exactly set apart from all the other varieties of "weird".
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Two weeks ago, 6:20 AM #14
the little birdy that told 'em
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#01: Single-Tweet Story Pitch

Lacus:
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Two weeks ago, 7:12 AM #15
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Oh cool. I barely remember previous years of this. Your pitch test was pretty damn economical, Gman.

Lets see. I am on mobile so I'm not sure how I am doing on character count but here's brief:

Ikon:
A veteran and a psychopomp join the Russian mafiya to save their families: Aleks needs the blood-money for his dad's medicine and Nik must find his criminal son. They learn a kingpin has cursed them, so first they have to save themselves.
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Two weeks ago, 12:45 PM #16

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Nyomi:
Paranormal Interventions --

A entrepreneurial psychic and himbo werewolf run a paranormal detective agency where they must crawl from the bottom of the totem pole to respected members of the supernatural community. From ghosts to dragons to aliens, they've got you covered! ...For the right price, that is.


you had me at werewolf himbo x2. Though, the penultimate sentence is a little confusing - do you mean cases involving these creatures, or recruits, etc? The sentence feels a little out of context.
Two weeks ago, 2:08 PM #17
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GMan003:This story seems more character-based than plot-based, so maybe telling us more about the character would help? "Tries to have fun" isn't nothing but it is a pretty broad description.

hmmm. I thought people would just learn more stuff by reading, but yeah, an extra character detail or two would make it more interesting. or at least, less vague!

Fun fact, the "tries to have fun, but meets creatures and stuff happens" line is a very summed up version of how the existing chapters unfold:

1. Huck wanders around the landscape, visits/helps people, or goes hiking or whatever (this is the having fun part)
2. The monster/villain of the week format kicks in
3. The remaining pages are spent on action, lore, and gags. With a small conclusion at the end.

(I'm gonna experiment with different setups soon though. I like the format but I can't see it happen every time, it would become repetitive)
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Two weeks ago, 3:43 PM #18
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Alright, we're on to day two, glad to see all the people joining in overnight.

#02: Themes
Every story has some kind of theme, though some are more or less obvious about it. What is yours?
Even if you didn't deliberately insert one, themes have a way of just happening by accident. Look at the elements spread across your story. Does anything stand out? Any repeated elements across subplots, any common features across characters?

My Answer

It's pretty obvious for this story. The theme is morality. The protagonist starts out with a solid intention to "do good", but no real definition of what that is, evolving her understanding after numerous ethical dilemmas. Several characters are clear mouthpieces for different sorts of ethics - Hrabanrun espousing a sort of consequentialism, Vasartuuli teaching an archaic set of virtue ethics, Tradhegen unexpectedly advocating a strong utilitarianism, at least within his in-group. Most obviously, Kuno and Hrafe act as physical shoulder angel/devil for Kimber, one advocating moral absolutism, the other moral relativism.
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Two weeks ago, 4:10 PM #19

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I'd say my comic's primary theme is the pursuit of truth, meaning, and purpose in a chaotic, capricious, and absurd reality where literally anything can happen at any time. I'm gradually working towards directly addressing this particular topic in greater and more forthright detail within my narrative, but that's what I generally envision this comic being about.
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Two weeks ago, 4:32 PM #20
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GMan003:Alright, we're on to day two, glad to see all the people joining in overnight.

#02: Themes
Every story has some kind of theme, though some are more or less obvious about it. What is yours?
Even if you didn't deliberately insert one, themes have a way of just happening by accident. Look at the elements spread across your story. Does anything stand out? Any repeated elements across subplots, any common features across characters?



I always love this question if I can sort out my thougts enough

My Answer

I think TAP’s theme is about what a father is, but perhaps in more of a spiritual sense. (There aren’t exactly any characters who are literal fathers in it) Someone who’s always there, waiting for you to accept that he loves you and just wants to help you and protect you no matter what. But a father also has to eventually step back and allow the β€œchild” to make their own choices, even if that choice is a harmful one. And you can’t protect them from everything.
I think that role involves a lot of waiting and a lot of suffering but in the end is worth it.

This sort of patiently waiting and not giving up can also apply to the main characters’ hometown and how far it has sunk into corruption. But if everyone just leaves and gives up on it, how can it ever improve? Even places can be like family to us in a way.

TAP also involves a lot of healing and how we need each other’s help for that. Some wounds are built up over a lifetime and are not so easily mended. It can take a long time for someone to open up and allow others to see those parts of them too, which calls back to the patience and long-suffering thing.
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Forum > Webcomic & Art discussion > 30 Days of Plotcrafting, 2022 Edition
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